Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Garden Update for February

Bees, bees, bees!!!!

Last week we bought our hive body and ordered 3 pounds of bees to be delivered the second week in April. I am assembling the body this weekend and I will get the remaining pieces to start the colony in the next few weeks. I will need the frames, a telescoping cover and a bottom board to start and I hope to need a honey super by July or so. I am really excited about it and I hope it goes well. We are placing the hive in the southeast corner of the yard to prevent most mishaps.

We also planted most of our seedlings this week and have the flats under grow lights in the dining room. It's a pretty ghetto setup: I have a black kitchen rack bookshelf with three selves and we have grow lights strapped to each shelf. They are all plugged into a timed power strip so I have cords all over my dining room. I will update pictures soon so that you can see how I live in squalor.

So far, we have planted:

Luffa gourds (for sponges)
golden scalloped squash
ace pickling cukes
delicata squash
tan gourd
green and white gourd
french beans
shelling peas
long island brussel sprouts
jesi cauliflower
luther hill corn
strawberry popcorn
tango lettuce
buttercrunch lettuce
monnopa spinach
buran sweet peppers
yellow pepper
orange pepper
scotch kale
valenciano pumpkin
rogue vif d'etampes pumpkin
galeux d'eysines pumpkin
flat leaf parsley

I still have to sow two kinds of carrots, 2 kinds of radish, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce and a few more herbs. The flats are ready but I ran out of time last night. We won't do tomato from seed because the community garden plant sale has the best heirloom tomatoes. All of our seeds are heirloom this year so I hope to have some delicious food to eat. Katrina has been canning like crazy, so storage won't be a problem. She also bought me a new dehydrator for my birthday because ours is about on it's last legs.

I have partnered with two other ladies to garden share this season. One lives in sugar house and we are part of the sustainable food circle eco- cooperative project. The other lady has two acres about a block from the trax station on the way home from work, so that is where the squash, gourds and pumpkins are going to go. I am really excited about this season.

We also finished secondary fermentation on our first batch of beer and hope to bottle this weekend. We also assembled all of the ingredients to make a batch of wine. We have chosen an Italian recipe called Luna Rossa. Brewing and winemaking is teaching me patience since I won't know for several months up to a year whether the process was successful or not.

Our chickens are finally starting to lay regularly again now that the weather has warmed and we're getting four eggs a day. We hope to be up to full production of ten eggs a day by March, if the weather holds. A snowstorm here and there doesn't upset them, but long spells of cold weather will halt good egg production.

We are still making our own butter and are finding many interesting recipes for using the buttermilk which only keeps for a few days. Katrina is baking bread and making sourdough starter so that we no longer have to buy bread or rolls.

I am also building a solar oven out of a tire to cook certain food with no energy other than the sun. Breads are a great example of solar energy cooking. I will let you know how the experiment goes.

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